Jordan Ayew

Crystal Palace - Burnley recap
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Burnley wins at Palace, boosts Europa hopes

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Burnley’s in the thick of another Europa League race after beating Crystal Palace 1-0 at Selhurst Park on Monday.

The undermanned Clarets found their winner from a surprising source, as captain Ben Mee headed a classy Ashley Westwood kick home in the second half.

CRYSTAL PALACE – BURNLEY FULL MATCH REPLAY

Burnley’s 45 points are level with seventh-place Tottenham and eighth place may be good enough for the Europa League this season thanks to Man City’s European ban.

Palace stays on 42 points, well clear of the drop zone.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]


Three things we learned

1. Second half surge? Burnley and Palace are the two-lowest scoring first half clubs in this season’s Premier League, combining for only 19. No. 20 wasn’t even a glint in its father’s eye over the first 45 minutes.

2. Sean Dyche is a marvel: Burnley is again in the race for European football despite its small size and errors in contract talks leaving Dyche with very little depth in a super congested period. We’re not sure Sean Dyche is ever going to win the masses via clever football, but he’s improved upon the Tony Pulis scrappy recipe and is winning matches without the ball. This man will work until he’s ready to retire.

3. Rare match-winner: Ben Mee’s won plenty of points for Burnley by virtue of terrific tackles and clearances alongside fellow star center back James Tarkowski, but goals have been a rarity.

The 30-year-old captain has scored just seven times in 321 career appearances for the Clarets, and his headed winner Monday was his first goal in 112 matches dating back to Jan. 2, 2017. He played 90 minutes in all but one of those contests, and it feels even better after his inspiring response to last week’s ugly incident at the Etihad Stadium.

Man of the Match:

Dwight McNeil — The 20-year-old Burnley star was very good, again. McNeil was stuck into myriad duels, completed four-of-five dribbles and four-of-four long balls.


Crystal Palace – Burnley recap

Wilfried Zaha was active early in his return to the lineup but Burnley saw the first real danger.

The Clarets’ 19th-minute corner kick from Ashley Westwood nearly defied Vicente Guaita before Burnley star Dwight McNeil sailed the rebound over the bar.

Jordan Ayew spun a shot to force Nick Pope into a stooping collection before halftime.

Ayew was at the center of a long VAR review in the 50th minute that concluded with his escaping discipline for a forearm to the face of Josh Brownhill.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Mee put Burnley in front with an excellent header off Ashley Westwood’s free kick, Guaita slow-to-react and getting just a piece of the ball on its way off the post and into the goal.

Burnley lost mainstay midfielder Jack Cork to a leg injury in a hit to its depth it can hardly afford.

Pope made a fine save in stoppage time after he flubbed a parry attempt and Kevin Long blocked the rebound to keep Burnley in front.

Bournemouth – Crystal Palace recap, video, analysis

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Crystal Palace kept up its pursuit of the top seven with a comfortable 2-0 win at relegation-troubled Bournemouth on Saturday.

Luka Milivojevic scored a classy free kick and Jordan Ayew finished off a fine team move as Roy Hodgson’s Eagles hit ninth place with 42 points, level with Tottenham and two points ahead of Arsenal.

The win was Palace’s fourth-straight Premier League win, all by clean sheet.

Palace’s Gary Cahill dodged a red card early in the second half but Bournemouth’s Lewis Cook wasn’t so lucky when VAR caught his stoppage-time elbow.

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Bournemouth remains in 18th place with 27 points, behind West Ham on goal differential and a point behind 16th place Watford.


Three things we learned

1. Cherries drop the ball: There aren’t a lot of obvious places on the fixture list for Bournemouth to collect points and escape the drop zone. With plenty of respect to Roy Hodgson’s talented and exciting Eagles, this was one of those spots. Even worse, none of Bournemouth’s remaining opponents are in the relegation race with them so the chances to doubly affect the scrap are null.

2. Milivojevic is key: Palace’s 29-year-old captain got on the score sheet for the first time since late October, spinning a powerful free kick off the hand of Ramsdale and into the goal.

There was some question as to how Roy Hodgson would utilize Milivojevic, James McArthur, and James McCarthy. McArthur is having a career year and was always going to play and Milijoveic over McCarthy was a risk that paid off.

3. Palace keeps European hopes alive: The Eagles needed three points here with Liverpool, Chelsea, Wolves, Spurs, and Manchester United on the docket. It seems a tall ask for Hodgson’s men to overcome that fixture list to qualify for Europe, but the Eagles are just four points back of fifth and two behind seventh. They have the same amount of points as eighth-place Spurs, and eighth could be enough for the Europa League if Man City’s ban is upheld and a top seven team wins the FA Cup.

Man of the Match: Milivojevic


Crystal Palace’s set-piece king delivered the opener in under a dozen minutes.

Milivojevic is usually the penalty kick, but he was golden from a bit further back and to left (back and to the left).

Bournemouth keeper Aaron Ramsdale could only get a hand on the spinning effort on its way into goal.

Palace was roaring out of the gates and Ayew got his ninth goal of the season when he slammed home a pass from Patrick van Aanholt, who overlapped Wilfried Zaha to send a ball in from the left.

Ayew’s nine goals are his most in a Premier League season and three shy of his career high of 12 set with Lorient in the 2014-15 Ligue 1 season.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The match hit a potential turning point in the 46th minute when Gary Cahill went studs-up into Joshua King.

Replays showed a possible if not probable red card offense, but VAR didn’t see enough to send Cahill off the pitch. King would not return.

Nathan Ake suffered a head injury putting a Junior Stanislas corner kick on goal. Stanislas later cracked a free kick into the wall.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Premier League social media wrap: Antonio, Pereira urge unity

Premier League social media
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The Premier League’s social media world was again focused on activism on Wednesday.

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West Ham forward Michail Antonio’s mind is understandably still on the racial issues which have gripped the world in a particularly strong way the past nine days.

A day after all 20 Premier League clubs and a large number of players and coaches spoke out against racism, Antonio wants to make sure that people don’t think one day of speaking up is enough to change a historical struggle.

He’ll appreciate another statement from Leicester City’s squad.

The Foxes gather center circle to take a knee, with Ricardo Pereira saying “humanity coms first” and echoing Weston McKennie’s “Enough is enough” video.

A huge number of Premier League players have donated shirts for a raffle to raise funds for the National Health Services’ charities as part of their #PlayersTogether campaign.

It’s a challenge to find more Premier League stars that have not posted about #ShirtsForHeroes than those that have, so we’ll choose should-be PFA Player of the Year midfielder Kevin De Bruyne.

It must’ve been chilly in Manchester.

Odion Ighalo is clearly happy to be back with United through January after it looked like the Nigerian striker was going back to Shanghai Shenhua.

But, man, both Ighalo and Luke Shaw in the wool hats/toques/skullies/whatever you want to call them.

Christian Benteke was none-too-pleased with the hassle he got from teammate Jordan Ayew at Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

The Belgian striker’s words were in jest, no doubt, after Palace gave him photos of the club’s leading scorer taking advantage of being allowed full contact in practice.

Benteke hasn’t been scoring and will always be judged by his price tag(s), but he’s been better this season as a hold-up man and pest up top. Let’s see if he can lead the Eagles onto something special.

WATCH: Ayew scores pretty goal to give Crystal Palace the lead

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Jordan Ayew is having one heck of a season.

The Ghanaian scored a beauty on Saturday to give Crystal Palace a 1-0 lead over Watford at Selhurst Park, making a bit of personal history in the process.

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The goal is his eighth of the Premier League season, a single-season high since he arrived from Lorient. He scored a career-best 12 with the Ligue 1 outfit in 2014/15.

Ayew had scored seven twice, once for Aston Villa and once for Swansea City.

Ayew’s work was pretty stuff, as he dug a ball out from his feet to lash a shot past Watford stalwart Ben Foster.

Palace rides Van Aanholt free kick past messy Newcastle

Crystal Palace v. Newcastle United recap and video highlights
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Patrick Van Aanholt starred against his former derby rivals as Crystal Palace beat Newcastle United 1-0 on Saturday at Selhurst Park.

Palace snaps a three-match losing run with the win, moving 13th with 33 points.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Newcastle stays on 31 points in 14th.

Valentino Lazaro took a straight red card for a take down of Wilfried Zaha deep in stoppage time and will miss the next three games.


Three things we learned

1. Van Aanholt shines bright:  The Eagles’ fullback hasn’t been at his best too often this season, but he was marvelous on Saturday even apart from the free kick goal. Playing against his former Northeast rivals, Van Aanholt passes at 85 percent, completed five of eight crosses and two of four long balls. He was credited with six key passes and the creation of two big chances (via Sofascore).

2. Same two stars for Newcastle, the rest passengers: Martin Dubravka made eight saves to keep Newcastle in the match, and the attack only went so far as electric winger Allan Saint-Maximin. Newcastle has badly needed a difference-maker in the midfield, and it’s no surprise the midfield is a mess without a real January energizer. Sean Longstaff has been a shell of the man linked with a $35 million move to Manchester United this summer.

3. Scrappy affair: Referee Peter Bankes handed out plenty of yellow cards — five for Newcastle, two for Brighton — and there wasn’t much consistency as to what merited a mere whistle and what registered as a caution. Palace had 15 fouls to Newcastle’s nine despite the discrepancy in cards.

Man of the Match: Van Aanholt, who got the better of his only rival for the honors with his free kick goal.


Dubravka was as busy early as Palace was wasteful. Jordan Ayew and Christian Benteke failed to strike with force from 18 yards before the keeper palmed away a strong Scott Dann header off a corner.

Palace keeper Vicente Guaita was then troubled by a Joelinton rip from distance, and Newcastle had a corner and a chance to breathe.

Benteke missed a sitter on a perfectly struck free kick, Newcastle bailed out in the 21st minute.

Joelinton and Benteke seemed intent on competing for least clinical striker, with the former then bungling a chance to cross for a streaking Miguel Almiron.

It took ex-Sunderland man Van Aanholt to put Newcastle to the sword with a delightful 45th-minute free kick.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Ayew should’ve had it 2-0 in the 48th minute when Van Aanholt’s cross found him near the back post, which he struck.

Gary Cahill then headed a Van Aanholt free kick off the side netting from close range.

Dominated for 68 minutes, the Magpies saw two bits of danger through Danny Rose and Fabian Schar in the 69th. The latter led to a pair of corners.

Dubravka again got the better of Ayew after Zaha and Cheikhou Kouyate set up a brilliant chance. Wasteful.